Big 12 men's basketball is the toughest league in the country and the teams keep proving it each week.
The onslaught of opponents has nearly rendered the conference standings beside the point. What does it even matter with seven of the teams within one game of third place? Every game means everything.
So if you're TCU coach Jamie Dixon, league records and positioning aren't even on your radar at the moment. The Big 12 standings are a big, beautiful mess with four teams tied for sixth place, including TCU (17-8, 5-7 Big 12).
The Horned Frogs play No. 19 West Virginia at 8 p.m. Monday in Morgantown, W.Va. The Mountaineers (18,-7, 7-5), who the Frogs beat two Mondays ago in Fort Worth, are coming off a home loss to Oklahoma State, one of the 5-7 teams tied with TCU.
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"You know you’re going to play somebody good," Dixon said. "A lot of the games it’s been hard to even imagine what was going to happen. There is nothing like this league. I’ve been in leagues that have been called the best leagues in the country, but there were bad teams in those leagues."
In the Big 12 this season, it's not even fair to call last-place Iowa State (13-11, 4-8) a bad team. The Cyclones have beaten first-place Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma -- all in Ames, Iowa. TCU plays in Ames on Feb. 21.
Texas coach Shaka Smart, whose team dropped into the four-way tie after losing its last two, including to TCU on Saturday, said the last two opponents seemed to want it more.
"This is what we all signed up for, this is big boy basketball and the opponents are tough," Smart said. "The last two times out we’ve played teams who have had a sense of desperation about them coming off losses. They had to go get the game. Everyone in this league is fighting and scrapping."
By now, the players know there are no cakewalks, no matter if you're playing at home.
"Every team is good, top to bottom. You’ve seen it all January and February. Head-shaking scores throughout. Anybody can beat anybody. It has been proven time and time again," said Dixon, who added that he doesn't think the league has a truly dominant team this year.
"I don’t know if there is a great team in college basketball, but we don’t have a bad team and that’s unheard of."
Meanwhile, players try their best to shut out any big picture thinking regarding the NCAA tournament.
TCU's RPI ranking, which stands for ratings percentage index, is still at No. 24, fourth-highest in the Big 12. That should loom large in TCU's favor if the final Big 12 standings include a logjam of teams with similar records.
CBS Sports currently predicts the Big 12 to earn seven tournament bids. As the standings look now with six regular-season games remaining, two of those teams in a four-way tie would be left out.
"It’s always going to be in the back of your head," TCU guard Desmond Bane said. "Just living in the world we live in today, with social media and TV, you see it everywhere. But we’re just trying to approach it one game at a time."
TCU at No. 19 West Virginia
8 p.m. Monday, WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, W.Va.